Starting with a family get-together at a restuarant - and two close friends. The Staurday before my birthday beacuse that is when my sister and bro-in-law could make it up in their campervan. They parked on the driveway by our house which is up a long right-or-way two sections back from the road.
They and the two friends stayed the night and we had a BBQ breakfast the following morning -bacon, eggs, pinapple and ginger/honey bread baked by Caren - under the awning of the camper van. The warmth of the summer and the trees and bacon made it seem like we were camped by the seaside - plus good friends of course!
Thursday was our work team dinner after work - not late - very pleasanr. Friday was the Christmas lunch put on by work - in the next door church hall with the secret santa gifts. I got a fancy notbook and I gave a book on NZ shrubs in the bush for Mary at work who is into bush walking.
Saturday I worked on the pencil portrait of Darren's (son-in-law)Father who died 4 years ago. It is hard to get the skin tones right with a photo takn by flash but I think Darren's mothe rwill like it. In the afternoon Alan and I went to the Wilderness Writer's group Christmas picnic - this year at French Bay over the other side of Auckland - very pleasant. John brought his kayak and we had discussions on trees, birds, the differences between rooks, ravens, crows, magpies (Pied crow in NZ).
Sunday I finished the portrait of Gareth and took him to the picture framers. My daughter will pick him up.
Sunday afternoon up to Dave and Caren's in the country for a scumptious lunch. She is such a great cook, all the flavours balanced - chicken with capers, fresh green salad with mustard sauce and potatoes gratin with cream not cheese.
Dave, Alan and I had a wander into the bush to get some ferns Alan wants to put in down the back of our house. I haven't uploaded them yet.
Caren had invited their 4 neighbours for afternoon tea nad done a heap of backing traditional German cakes - liebkuchen is the only one I remember the name of - and waffles with cherries and cream AND THE MOST devine cheese cake with strawberries - made with quark so not heavy. My birthday cake.
After the neighbours had gone Dave flew the kite and we sat on the grass in the shade and watched him. No one's stomach wanted to have another game of pentanque.
All-in-all the perfect end to a lovely week.